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Paradise Lost: In 1667 the manuscript was sold for ten pounds.

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This is the continuation of a series in capturing the lives of people in parallel and of the zealotry and the dilemmas of our times often triggered, perhaps, by the different motivations. We wonder between the good and the bad; who is the decent and the honest and who really is the scumbag and thief and why even they have their defenders. Behind these dilemmas, some see God in the motivations, others see morality, yet others Nature. God has been more trouble that He is worth the bother, useful perhaps at a funeral and no more.

We don’t want to believe anymore than is necessary because we can be good without God. Evil shelters behind Him; He hampers our sense of fair judgment and the innocent are powerless when His name is invoked. At heart, we are all Spinozists and want to be so; things happen because they happen. Nature has no morality. If we made our values and pass them on we can also unmade them. We may record our judgments or our inclinations, and that’s that. We want no endorsement nor do wish for condemnation. It is fair enough if we only understand fully before we  judge.

By necessity, parts of these stories and essays are personal. The author is indebted to Jian (below), his love, the sun, moon and stars.  Idea for this parallel framework, the intimate and the personal side by side with the national and the public, was borrowed from J.M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year (2007). Series start here, Suicide, Revolutions & Chillies then The Golden Age of the Nihilist.

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Out of the Woods. To Paradise

The image or notion of the money-grubbing Chinese, racist and ill-mannered to boot, so dominates Malaysian consciousness that it will be a shock to Malays to find that the Chinese, China or anywhere, don’t live or think the way Petra Kamarudin (representative of Anglophile racism) pictures them and want them to believe.

As recent as the 1980s, seven in ten Chinese live in rural China, usually mountainous, often secluded homes. Water comes from the mountain stream but you’d have to go and fetch it with a pail. There is no electricity, so many families have rebuilt their houses alongside the government constructed concrete roads then hook wires onto the electricity pylons. Warmth comes from burning firewood in winter. You, too, have to go get them — up 300 meters. Nobody sobs over these inconveniences. They do something about it, and many scam the way out of those mountains.

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city girl

Above, a woman emerging from the forest approaches the city, surveying it as if a little apprehensive.

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The many who abandon this rural life have not look back with regrets. When we first met, Jian and I, she had already been away for two years. It took another year before she would let me into her old world, lodged in the pine and cypress forests, winters washed in fog and snow and, in summers, we’d bath in the streams along the creeks and gullies — with nothing on, no sarongs, nothing.

Where the forest meet the stream, Jian stripped, threw her clothes onto a pile of rocks, and quickly waded in. The summer rain brings water down the creek more than the season before. In these parts, the morning mist still drift in from the forest and the heavens. Like a person who suddenly remembers the keys after stepping out of the gate, she turned around, stared at me and shouted: “What are you waiting for? Take off your clothes. Come quick!”

“What? Here?” I was still standing beside a pile of rocks strewn with her clothes.

“If not here, where? You want to bath with your clothes on?” she answered then sank into the water. It isn’t deep, just to the thighs. I thought I saw her shaking her head as if in disbelief.

Her answers weren’t for the question; it was meant differently. But questions mean differently here and, of course, to Jian. Only I hadn’t seen it that way before. Her normal was my abnormal; a normality not of innocence nor naivety but of a sinless-ness, without god, man nor serpents. Snakes are just food, not symbolic for behavior or thoughts or people, like the Indians. (RPK or Tan Keng Liang will think on those terms.) There are little snakes in the flooded summer rice fields, easy to fish out, take home, and throw into the pot. We collected some on the way back.

Those who believe village life as pristine and guileless aren’t just romantic after western biblical notions. They are deluded. Cities are simply villages extended. The difference being in the intensity and frequency of betrayals and, in the city, you are on your own — no family, no relatives, no school mates, no support, no bank savings, no waiting cars. Not even the government is with you; lucky if it is indifferent.

On her second day of her arrival some asshole, no different from those at 1MDB, scammed her of 500 yuan, part of the precious little she had. This happens with astonishing regularity, a 100 here, 300 there. I’m incredulous but she shrugs it off as a price of living, of being alive. Innocence is a luxury only for the dead. A year later, while we were living together, she lost 1,000 yuan — over the phone. But, the guilt is mine so that, to mollify it, to appease my incredulity, I gave her a thousand the first thing the next day before leaving for work. The pretext: our rent in advance.

She understood it differently, of course. “I understand, now, why I love you,” she smiled, still clutching the wad of notes. “Naive.”

Me naive? Me who has seen the world, and trained in one of its best universities? And that in the fine art of thinking and philosophizing and in solving problematic equations? But might it not be true: After all, humanity is not taught, it is cultivated. Which probably explains why many of the worse scums in Malaysia — the Joes, the Lows and the Razaks — had come from Oxford and Wharton. Their betrayals caused are no less painful than the man outside train stations waiting to scam adolescents arriving from the forested mountains.

miao4Jian is half Miao on her mother’s side. Their women love ornamentation; the traditional ones are typically made of silver alloy, pictured above: cuffs, hair pins, hat, bracelets, necklaces. Many of them seem naturally skilled in embroidery, and clothing is quickest and most ready to work on when in the city. This intuitive inclination towards some objective beauty, hand crafted, probably explains why Jian very quickly leaned towards modelling (as in the one below).

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Butterflies don’t fly backwards

我的爱, 蝴蝶不飞倒退

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Whitewashing 1MDB

by Arul Kanda Kandasamy

You see, it is like this, Arul: You go in there, clean the boots — books or boots, they are the same — wash the walls, repaint, use white, always white, it means purity, and after that we’ll call in the inspectors. What they find depends on how well you do the job. Understand?

He nodded out of habit, but it was months later before understanding reveals itself as consciousness.

Najib continued: “Don’t fail me now. Don’t mess this up. Stay cool. If you keep saying the same thing — recycling — then you can’t go wrong. Talk to the Press if you must. It’s all perception. My guru RPK taught me that. When talking, sound rational. Use Keng-Liang logic. Know what that is?”

He paused then added: “Never get angry. When you’re angry, logic fails you. Get it!

Sixteen months later:

“Honestly, I’ll tell you guys. Honestly, I didn’t sign up for this.” — Arul Kanda, April 2016, talking selfie to reporters at The Edge, who promptly bought an honest, heart-to-heart story. “Poor Arul,” thus spake Jose ‘Bollocks’ Barrocks in ‘His job is not done yet‘.

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1MDB Whitewashed

& Post Arul

Hearing it from Arul Kanda, 1MDB is as good as finished. More recently Azalina Othman reaffirmed the genus of the same idea, leave it for dead. And to do that, they would cut the fastening lines then let that leaking old yacht named 1MDB drift off to sea. The longer it is moored onto the Malaysian government jetty, to Najib Razak in person, the greater is the hold of liability on both. Bad news attracts attention to itself.

Thus, said Lina, “there is no more issue with 1MDB.”  After the report of the Parliament’s Public Account Committee, she added, all matters concerning the company is “for it to deal with, internally”.

O! Really, Lina? ‘An internal matter’, you say. Well, here would be Low Taek Jho’s answer long before 1MDB would be turned ‘internal’:

Are you telling me the prime minister doesn’t make his own decisions? That the ministry, the minister of finance, who is the prime minister – and there are only two to three people in the finance ministry that sign off on shareholder resolutions under law – that none of them… that they just signed without evaluating it?
Joe Boy continues:
Did the people supposed to be responsible for decision-making (at 1MDB) suddenly decide to absolve all their responsibilities and then create this PR campaign with me as the focus of it? .. (W)ho is the ultimate decision-maker on 1MDB?
Then this; the clincher-confession:
There are so many other people who get away with ridiculous billions and billions and billions worth of projects. But every single time there seems to be a political attack, wow, suddenly Jho is there again.

Before, it was Jho boy; he knows too much. Now, it is Arul.

Like Arul whining today — ‘tired, doing more than he had signed up for‘ — and using The Edge as a bullhorn for wanting out, Low turned to Euromoney to deflect his role in looting paradise. The language though was still the Arulian-Wharton sort: woolly. In talking, not once does he give a number (which commands a precision that words can’t, an eternal truth). Nor does he deny the scam. Instead he pointed to the other fellas whereas he — sob, sob, sob — was just the fall guy.

But billions three times over? Was that US dollars or rupiah, Joey boy?

All that remains to be done today is to turn the shell of a company over to a private corporate body or individuals. Better yet, liquidate because something that is nothing attracts nothing. This is the way physical Nature works. The gravity laws: Only a thing with mass pulls to itself other matter.

Either way, that would be Arul’s job.

This has been done before, the 1MDB-PetroSaudi JV most pertinently; here today, gone tomorrow. Why be attached to a thing as a company? It isn’t life. Its use over, take the money, dump it as Low Taek Jho, his Arab friends and others in 1MDB did to Bridge Capital, Blackstone, Brazen Sky, Aabar BVI, PSI Caymans, and so on. Bank accounts, too.

Take 1MDB events the past six months — in particular, Arul stripping 1MDB off of every piece of furniture — and match them to his latest remarks and that of Azalina’s. Then, it is possible to see the sense in Lina’s latest gambit, while the investigations renewed by the Police and by the Attorney General could be allowed to run their course, take Sharol Halmi out to dry and, after which, to find a way to get him out. Here, thus, is probable cause to cut 1MDB loose. Which, really, is a way better than the pronouncements by some Saudi minister or the Attorney General that Najib Razak is innocent of corruption. Nobody believes them anyway.

That way is also better because attached to the charges against Najib isn’t just the money in the bank — the outward, manifested symbol in the morality of 1MDB. No, it is that creature, that Thing itself called 1MDB, train to Paradise, Car in the Great Malaysia Scam, Mother of Frauds. To it is latched monies, deals, bank transactions and, most problematic of all, the morality of its existence.

What might Arul think of the latest idea of Lina’s? What about his own life? His role in it? But, really, What is there to think? Arul might prized himself as some great financial wizard; in another word, a philistine. Indeed, dumb ass reporters go away (easily) impressed by him as a man of confidence, one who knows his work, and by dint of will he can fix things. 1MDB is for him to fix. So cocksure is he in that mission, Arul believes he can even straighten crooked timber.

Baruch Spinoza:

“…the angry boy believes that by free will he wishes vengeance; the timid man thinks it is with free will he seeks flight; the drunkard believes that by a free command of his mind he speaks the things which when sober he wishes he had left unsaid. … All believe that they speak by a free command of the mind, whilst, in truth, they have no power to restrain the impulse which they have to speak.”

That is, Arul’s sense of his work — ‘I didn’t sign up for this‘ — as if he acted out on a choice is, in truth, predicated on his illusions. His notions associated with 1MDB, ‘blame’, ‘praise’, ‘truth’, ‘substantiation’ are fathomable because he knows only things from experiences, any of which has landed him with a false ideal that he is in command of himself. Restated another way, Arul is no model of intellectualism nor intellectual courage, much less is he a Spinozist.

Arul must have thought, as did reporters at The Edge, he did a fabulous job, all that ‘rationalising’. After which, as if to round up a year’s rationalising work, he brags by whining. And that in front of the reporters about ‘possible’ fraud and ‘not signing up’. Lina retorts: that’s your ‘internal’ problem. It must have felt, to Arul, like betrayal. More important than his feelings, What might have Najib thought? But the fault is his: he had forgotten his true mission, itself overwhelmed by the inflated sense of his capability. To Najib, he was just a construction hand, whitewashing; not financial wizardry. In that, Najib doesn’t need an Arul; he has Tim Leissner, Jho Boy; they are a dime a dozen.

So you want to quit? Sure, boy, answers Najib. (Read this for example.) We’ll find you a way to quit.

Arul fails to see that, though his work is nearly over, the worse is not — not for him. Gone off the tracks, the train 1MDB going to Paradise is also going down hill, all the rationalising doesn’t alter the fact. No, rationalizing delivers the opposite to Arul’s intent. Joining a cast of fraudulent characters, beginning with Najib, his ‘rationalization plan’ is nothing but yet another fraud (Stage 3, in the next part of this post), a cover of earlier frauds — indeed, validating them — emptying 1MDB of its baggage, whitewashing its past, then cutting it loose from its moorings. In another word, a lie.

If rationalization was a lie, so were a hundred other things before. Rationalization simply reaffirmed the prior fraud committed in 1MDB: oil fields, strategic investments, assets exceeding liabilities, surplus cash in hand, cash equivalents, ‘level 3 assets’, offshore funds, segregated portfolio companies, after which every sheet of accounting for six years, the investment applications to Bank Negara, Jho Low, Tarek Obaid, a turkey prince, Aabar, Good Star, Blackstone. It just goes on and on and on — as long as Arul’s tongue, a man pretending to be a great specialist finance Fixer but, really, as events have turned out, they show him as just another dumb ass stooge. Like Jho Boy.

To even contemplate that 1MDB, after a make-over, could be resurrected showed he understood nothing from Najib’s instructions (see above). But to admit ‘possible’ fraud he has in fact call out the lies from Azalina Othman, Salleh Keruak, Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Apandi Ali on the MACC investigations, even among Arul partners in IPIC… and after them the minions, from Tan Keng Liang to Ahi Attan.

So that, if all along those were lies, what have they now to say for the truth? Nothing, answers Lina. There is no issue with 1MDB. Nothing happened. Paradise got lost. We’re over it now. Move on.

If Arul had gotten ahead of Lina’s script, admitting possible fraud then asking to leave, the man must be worried. Imagine for a minute his expression still in his office: police, guns, handcuffs, offices ransacked, drawers pried open, files carted off, and then watching the back of Sharol trailing off in his shadows. Spinoza was right: ‘All believe that they speak by a free command of the mind, whilst, in truth, they have no power to restrain the impulse which they have to speak.

Easy it is to appear like a tough, hardened man if Najib felt safe. But, Arul would be quite a different altogether once Najib, feeling on edge, begins lurking behind curtains. If they could throw Sharol under the bus, what might become of him? Might Arul do a Kevin Morais and put everything into a thumb drive then Fedex it off to a safe place? What might it contain?

In Part 2 of this post is, in capsule form, a schematic reproduction of what had gone through 1MDB in the years 2009 to the present. Money is its only preoccupation; that’s what 1MDB is all about, not the ‘synergies’ talked about, the foreign investments, international collaboration, jobs and so on. All lies. There was no great, grand idea that was botched, no Paradise waiting at 1MDB’s train destination. It was simply a scam, right from the opening bell of class. Because so much has been signed away, borrowed, taken out, transferred, so many bank accounts opened then closed, so many companies, so much money, even speeches in fraudulent language (‘high quality asset backed by cash equivalents’), it gets difficult tracking things with dead accuracy. Let’s try anyway, trusting the faith in ourselves.

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This post continues next installment, Paradise Whitewashed, Looted, Part 2.

Dear Mr Jebat:

What’s wrong with me? Since you asked, you tell me.

But before that, also tell me: Is cari makan wrong? I cari lots of makan. You got a problem with that?

I have already said, I have done more than I have signed up for. That is, I cari more than I makan. It is in the nature of the beast. Others might say, an occupational hazard: other than the boss I need to appease, there is the Cabinet, the Attorney General, the Auditor General and all those other Generals. Then there is the Press, the politicians, the MPs, and of course that fella … what’s his name? Pua something. Some Tony on a pony show which I must put up with on a daily basis. Not one day passes will he give me a break.

But, all that I can deal with. Excepting this: cleaning up this shit in this sty called 1MDB. If you think this is an easy job, you do it. Or get Tony.

You see, Jebat, don’t envy me my job, my method of cari, or the diet in my makan. If you think 38,200 ringgit a month is big deal you know nothing about this business. Have you any idea how much those assholes, say, those bank guys in Singapore BSI or in Goldman Sachs make in a month, excluding bonus? Take a guess. Throw a number. Any number. And for what? While I get flogged — daily — they sit in their offices, each day, nine out of ten hours, they make and take phone calls and answer emails. That’s it.

Last year alone that Tim Leissner fella took home 520,000 not ringgit. US dollars. And you mock me for this pittance for my stupidity?

Yes, I was bodoh to have signed up for this. But when the Prime Minister opens his mouth, you think he’s asking? And so there are choices, real choices for a free man? Get real; this is Malaysia. Nobody wants this fucked up job, and if I do it well, and if you don’t like my style, what can I do?

It is just me, man. I’m naturally good in what I do — my second nature, if you will — talking and talking and talking. Blame my parents, if you’re looking for blame. Or blame my Indian-ness, or the snake in that Indian. Blame anything but you can never, never, never fault me for creaming off from this sty.

Face it. In here, in this shit hole, there’s nothing left to steal. All that’s left is a shell and, daily, I can only hear echoes of my own fart. It’s getting useless in here. Even getting out has its huge problems. Do you think, knowing all that’s happened, they will just cut me loose? I will count myself lucky, dead outside a temple; unlucky if I end up in a cement drum. Don’t you get it: I’m stuck here. Even thinking out aloud has limitations. I thought I did get away with it — letting the boss know my wishes, that he might be sympathetic even to just consider, and that there was no other way to say it other than through those stupid reporters. And they thought it was something of a scoop: ‘Arul is tired, Arul wants out, Arul got more than he had bargain for‘. All that yada, yada, yada was just a way of telling the boss. Guess what came back? He didn’t like it one bit. The phone on my hand nearly disintegrated into a thousand pieces, like the day my ex threw the Blackberry into the wall. Dust to dust.

So, you see, you don’t make my life any easier calling me stupid. On the phone, the boss was right: With all this mess and I in the center, who in his right mind will now want me? Who in this fucked-up world will put up with me? You? My reputation is finished, don’t you get it? The better I am at my job, the worse off it gets, and the greater is the disintegration of my life. I am staring at unemployment for the rest of my existence, staring down into an abyss, waking up wondering what the fuck have I got myself into. Perhaps, if it pleases you, I shall throw myself off the cliff. After that, carnations are welcomed but save your tears for Malaysia. I like yellow ones by the way.

Yours truly,

Arul Kanda al Samy

 

Death’s Lie

After Jian’s fifth suicide attempt, the daily routines and speech and thoughts and emotions that add up to the thing called ‘life’ shifted from attempts to live differently to being indifferent to living. When this indifference takes hold, it looks for Ways to go; actually alternate ways.

Jian had consumed poison used in the farms but this is a horrid, slow way out. It took almost six hours to empty the contents from her so that the ensuing torture looks like we were wrenching out the soul. Then when her exquisite beauty is mingled with and wrapped with the once invisible organ interior, as she lay in bed and we had to help her throw up, encourage her really, it suddenly dawns on you: the aesthetic loses. All appearances die, all the external that constitute the facade of a life are gone.

Still, death wins eventually. It will. It has only to wait for the next round. Beauty is an unfinished art which only death claims.

But, it is at that moment life appears like a well constructed, rehearsed lie so that all those around her — me, her father, doctors and nurses — are just ghosts, blurry figures one can make no sense of. All past has no meaning. Memories cease to exist. All distinctions between friend and foe, love and hatred, passion and cynicism are banished. There is just nothing before death.

It is also at that moment, one rediscovers when it is to be alive. And, when she came round on the third day, completely weakened but in partial possession of her senses — the things that make one come alive — it is a great moment to treasure. The phrase at the edge of death suddenly means something.

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The Death of Bara (1794), Jacques Louis David. Musée Calvet, Avignon. The painting was probably unfinished. Had death come too soon?

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I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
And since each day’s the same
There’s no longing for the past.

You have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things
You knew you shouldn’t do.

So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I’m right here, in your heart.

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mug

the river in us…

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death without regrets

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Joey Culture

Goldman’s hedonist, nihilistic culture in a Malaysian

1MDB was, in truth, constructed around and on a pack of lies: all that talk of money, of jobs, of good things promised. All lies.

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As Razak Baginda was to the French Scorpene submarine, Jho Low was to 1MDB; both fixers, both with Najib Razak, top boss to both.

Their two worlds would not differ by much: one Oxford, the other Wharton business school, both with lots of English, fake accent in Manglish; both government middlemen; deal making, overflowing in astronomical sums of monies, even by rich country standards, and Malaysia is not a rich country; lots of partying; surrounded by women, preferably blonde with little on; Razak with Altantuyaa, Jho Low, Paris Hilton.

One was implicated in a murder and got away. The other implicated in the theft of money and is free. Both are Malaysians but Malaysia might just be a name on a passport that Baginda could used in the the service of his ‘consultancy services’. He represented Malaysia as Jho Low would represent Najib Razak, symbol of the rich and connected and all powerful.

For a philistine, with next to no culture, each one made a lot of money out of a nothing-country.

Like the cultivation of their individual persona, there was a convoluted, international quality in each of their money trail, Hong Kong being central to both. Their registered companies, like their lives, have this plebeian, vulgar quality: Ombak, Good Star. There is even an absurdist syllabic trait in their company names, Low’s Jynwel, Razak’s Terasasi (a four-syllable eight letter word with four vowels).

Even their names ring with a vulgar tincture. Low Taek Jho, born 1981, age 35 today, Georgetown, Penang. Liu Tezuo 刘特佐 in hanzi.  Because he’d spent so much time among westerners abroad, he had to shorten and flip his name around to make sound like Joe Low, very Anglophile.

Here is Low trumpeting about Jynwel in Hong Kong he created in 2009

Jynwel Capital cultivates lifelong partnerships with significant investors such as leading sovereign wealth funds, major international investment companies and large family enterprises. With an in-depth understanding of the needs and objectives of our partners, we employ innovative solutions to identify unique investment opportunities and create mutually beneficial outcomes. This philosophy and approach reinforces these treasured partnerships and leads to long-term value creation.

Listen to those words, not read them. It’s the sort of language you’d hear inside pantries and the toilets of Goldman Sachs: “Hi, everybody!” says Joe in his three-piece Armani, still hot in the collar after a phone call to Putra Jaya. “We’re going to be motherfucking rich! That motherfucker Malaiyoo just signed!” Everybody hails Joe as the new rising Star. “Three fucking billion,” he replies to the cheering crowd. “I’ll show you the fucking money!

In speaking to the world, Jynwel, like Jho Low, isn’t to be read and understood because its message would be meaningless, grandiose in its linguistic style, abstracted in its vocabulary in order to be obfuscating. This had come straight out of Wharton Business School in the University of Pennsylvania where Low along with Seet Li Lin and a host of others dealing with 1MDB had graduated. Jynwel has to be felt: is he just a thief with a briefcase?

Seet loved that sort of language as well. He had described its style as “big on fluff, light on content”. He thinks that way is being smart — hahahahahaha six times over — and so congratulates himself to have done one of his “best pieces”.

You wouldn’t be able to tell should you meet Seet Li Lin, or the like of him, those bourgeois Joe wannabe, on Singapore’s Orchard Road, and shook his hands: fine on appearances, shit on the inside. Seet is Jho Low’s representative in Good Star.

Above, is the wonder of digital technology, stripping off Seet, all done in by himself, to unveil the extent of his narcissism, self-absorption, and self-congratulatory conceit.  In his language is that Wonder Boy self-importance, God-sent to fix a warped get-rich-quick system by ‘gaming’ it, but he contributes in turn to warping it further. The condescending trope echoes the self-aggrandizing and whiny prose and nihilist tone found all over Petra Kamarudin: ‘look at me, I was already smart when you were still sucking on your mama’s tits’.

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Consider the following phrases: lifelong partnerships, leading sovereign wealth funds, in-depth understanding, needs and objectives, innovative solutions. It is, of course, not a crime to brag. But, are the meanings true? Or, do they exist primarily to create the allusion of wonderful things being performed, Jho Low dressing his Jynwel in foggy language to veil a dog-eat-dog world that, central to its purpose, is to cream off money going from one place to another, never mind from who or what.

Yet that’s the same system Seet whines about in his email.

Jho Low exalts the system while, on the other hand, Seet ‘games’ it. One life cancels out the other in an absurdist merry-go-round that Albert Camus would say, absurd to itself. And this always start with a lie, as 1MDB was a lie from the beginning.

In repeatedly attempting to end her own life, Jian instinctively understood that such were the consequences of the moral nihilism of our age. At least it was her own life, and this bothered no one. But in the nihilism of Jho Low and Seet, they couldn’t care less if they brought down a whole country with them. Nay, even the world.

Camus: He’d be shocked by the debauchery in the nihilism rocking this age.

Chillies and Identity

From the Nautilus:

Hongjie Wang, an associate professor of history at Armstrong State University in Georgia, specializes in Sichuan culture. In his essay, “Hot Peppers, Sichuan Cuisine and the Revolutions in Modern China,” he marshals some interesting data points supporting what one contemporary Chinese cultural observer called Sichuan’s inherent “potential for rebellion, so beautiful and marvelous.” In 1911, according to Wang, a protest against “imperialist” control of newly constructed railroads in Sichuan triggered national unrest that ultimately led to the fall of the Qing Dynasty, which means one can make the case that Sichuanese hot tempers set in motion the entire process of China’s modern political development.

In his essay, Wang emphasizes the insurgent fire of the Sichuan people. During the Sino-Japanese War between 1937-1945, he tells us, Sichuan provided nearly 3.5 million soldiers for the Chinese army, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total drafted forces during the wartime period. The Sichuan city of Chongqing served as Chiang Kai-shek’s war-time capital. Perhaps most compelling, he writes, of the 1,052 generals and marshals who served in the early ranks of the People’s Liberation Army, a whopping 82 percent hailed from China’s four spiciest provinces.

In Sichuan, Wang writes, “eating spicy food has come to be regarded as an indication of such personal characteristics as courage, valor, and endurance, all essential for a potential revolutionary.”

The puzzle starts to take shape. Personality: risk-taking immigrants on the move. Economics: a cheap and easy-to-grow option for adding flavor to a constrained diet. Weather and culture: a hot and humid climate, and yin and yang medical philosophy. Taken together, we see the formation of a culture, the beginning of an identity.

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Chillies and Revolutionaries

Again from the Nautilus:

In 1932, the Soviet Union sent one of its best agents to China, a former schoolteacher and counter-espionage expert from Germany named Otto Braun. His mission was to serve as a military adviser to the Chinese Communists, who were engaged in a desperate battle for survival against Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists.

The full story of Braun’s misadventures in China’s Communist revolution is packed with enough twists and turns for a Hollywood thriller. But in the domain of culinary history, one anecdote from Braun’s autobiography stands out. Braun recalls his first impressions of Mao Zedong, the man who would go on to become China’s paramount leader.

The shrewd peasant organizer had a mean, even “spiteful” streak. “For example, for a long time I could not accustom myself to the strongly spiced food, such as hot fried peppers, which is traditional to southern China, especially in Hunan, Mao’s birthplace.” The Soviet agent’s tender taste buds invited Mao’s mockery. “The food of the true revolutionary is the red pepper,” declared Mao. “And he who cannot endure red peppers is also unable to fight.’ ”

Eating chili pepper is like riding a roller coaster, [Paul Rozin, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist] notes. “In both cases, the body senses danger and behavior normally follows which would terminate the stimulus. In both cases, initial discomfort becomes pleasure after a number of exposures.”

Linguistically and anecdotally, the association of “spice” with “excitement” rings true, but proof of Rozin’s theory did not arrive until decades after he formulated his original thesis. The missing link appeared in 2013, when two Penn State researchers, John Hayes and Nadia Byrnes, published “Personality Factors Predict Spicy Food Liking and Intake” in the journal Food Quality and Preference.

Hayes is an associate professor of food science at Penn State who received an NIH grant in 2011 to investigate the genetics of the TRPV1 receptor. Nadia Byrnes was one of his graduate students. In experiments conducted on 97 test subjects, Byrnes found a significant correlation between people who scored high on a “sensation seeking” scale and people who liked the burn. (Examples of questions that determined “sensation seeking” included “I would have enjoyed being one of the first explorers of an unknown land” and “I like a movie where there are a lot of explosions and car chases.”)

Byrnes, now a post-doc at the University of California, Davis, says her data shows that there are links between sensation-seeking and liking spicy food that align with Rozin’s theories “to an extent.” The data also suggest some provocative gender-based differences related to spice attraction. In comparison to women, Byrnes says, men may be more motivated to eat hotter food because of the “extrinsic rewards” provided by society: the “cultural expectation that being male includes machismo and strength and daring—all these kinds of stereotypically male characteristics.”

So does this mean Mao was right? That there is a link between revolutionary fervor and the chili pepper?

(Full report, http://nautil.us/issue/35/boundaries/why-revolutionaries-love-spicy-food)

*

Chillies and Life

She — we’ll simply call her Jian, as in Jane — had grown up in the Sichuan mountains. Pictured immediately after the one below is her in two product promotion modelling.

IMG_20141010_145844

Jian in our city apartment: When asked would she return with me, her answer, “What’s there in your country?” She was right; nothing. Then she added, “Don’t you have a lot of mosquitoes?” That, too, was true except those weren’t my mosquitoes. They belong to Ridhuan Tee. She never did return to the Public Security Bureau where we’d had gone two months earlier to put in an application for her passport.

Three years later when Zahid Hamidi abolished pre-entry visa requirements for Chinese nationals arriving in Malaysia, she had far fewer motivations and reasons to visit, not even as a tourist. China kept her busy, and MH370 kept recurring in our conversation each time I mention Malaysia. From then on it was pointless to even speak the malai word.

Five times in two years she had attempted to take her own life. On a few occasions, she’d nearly drink herself to death. What failed? Reticence perhaps. Or, second chances. Or might it not be the fire and the passions in the Sichuanese blood. She’d expect the most from life; no second best. The Chinese: they are so like Americans, needing so much space to live.

There is a chorus in a Hunanese song extolling the effects wrought by chillies:

As children, spiciness is not the spicy girls’ fear
As adults, spicy girls don’t fear the heat
Getting married, spicy girls fear that things might not be spicy enough.

FXY_product02

Jian at work (above and below): Could she have done just as well elsewhere?

I never doubted she’d succeed anywhere outside China, and Malaysia  in particular (Air Asia flies daily KL-Chengdu), to make life anew for herself and for us. But what would be the point? Malaysia isn’t a country where you excel; you are in it only to get by. There the mediocre triumphs. Not in China, though, where competition is so intense — slim, pretty, smart girls are a dime a dozen — that on some days I wish she did stop grovelling for that one additional assignment.

But then, what the fuck do I know…. I hadn’t known, for example, it takes 20 hours of preparation to eventually produce a twenty second pared-down, usable TV slot. Then there are the Model Frauds, people who scam for 2,000 ringgit with a promise of a commercial spot, and nothing happens after that. In some ways China is a Nation of Swindles, often justified by its poverty. But, soon, one learns to be wary of appearances and not to be presumptuous about other people’s lives.

I hadn’t lived long in Sichuan where the Siberian winds, sometimes from the Himalayas, whip in snow in thick icy clods. Next morning we still would climb the foggy, mist-soaked mountain behind her family house to collect firewood of dead pine trees lying on 60 degree slopes. Since then, she had said, she was done with that accursed place where even the birds don’t bother shitting there鸟不拉屎的地方. She says that only because she hadn’t known worse places, far worse.

FXY_bw01

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i carry your heart with me (my love)

i carry it in my heart…

i fear no fate for you are my fate (my sweet)…

here is the root of the root

the bud of the bud…

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Tomb of Lies

Lina O wants to know: Who lied?

Answer: You did, Lina. And so did Najib Razak, and Zahid Hamidi, and Adnan, and Apandi, and Arul…. and, of course, Chubby Low. Unfortunately, very unfortunately, you were being human.

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1MDB was built on a tomb of lies

Dear Azalina:

You’ve been lying and lying and lying, but you can’t help it. How can you? You don’t even know your own lies.

Let’s begin with the Saudi foreign minister, whose remarks centered on two ingredients. One, the Saudi government is ‘aware’ of investigations into a certain ‘donation’, amount unstated, source anonymous, and so on (see Chedet: Money Trail). Two, the ‘donation’ was unconditional.

Now, contrast those remarks against the unknown and the unstated. The minister’s remarks are actually regurgitation, vomit, that on countless occasions had been recycled by Najib Razak’s ministers (‘recycle’ is Arul’s favorite red herring word used to throw our scent off from getting straight answers). As a result, those words resurrect old problems that hadn’t been addressed before.

One, when is a ‘donation’ a donation? An example in this question: ‘A’ steals from Bank X then transfers to ‘B’ who in turn deposits half the loot into A’s Bank Y. Is B donating to A — technically? Two, why don’t those towel head Saudis come straight, right out to say it: “Here’s the donor, here is proof of yearly earnings, in USD billions, here’s the remittance receipt, here is the money back. We consider the case closed.” Instead, the minister actually recycles Najib’s Arulian spittle. Why?

The worse for the inanity is this, Lina: with those remarks, you went to town gloating, and that in writing, too. Why? There was nothing new in them. On the contrary, the Saudi man doesn’t even say the donation is a ‘political fund’ which, if you remember, Lina, you said late last year was the purpose of the US$681 million. First, there was no such money, after that the money was a form of Islamic ‘reward’, then ‘political funding’, and now it’s a ‘genuine’ personal donation.

Can you, Lina, sense the lie on the lie on the lie on the lie?

Said so often, you are beginning to believe your own lies. You can’t even tell one lie from another, much less the truth from them. You can’t even tell when a donation ceases to be a donation and, therefore, see that a donation can be a form of gratification — words contained in the  MACC Act. Look it up.

Then there is the matter of conditionality. For someone to drop US$681 million into your bank account, expecting nothing in return, is an un-human feat and, worse for it, when this is done in the name of your God. Think about it for a minute, Lina: Why is it un-human? But to pass around embezzled money, whether this is done by thieves or politicians, is pure human reaction. Consequently, it has to be unconditional. In colloquial terms, it is called splitting the loot. What need is there to expect anything in return when the money hadn’t originally come from nor does it belong to the donor? Nor recipient.

Lina, can you not see? Your lies cloud your judgment.

After which, you mentioned of a letter published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation which you say reaffirms the Saudi’s remarks. Is this it?

375m-pledge-letter-to-Najib-Razak-from-HRH-p1-normal

Click on image for an enlarged view.

It was with that letter plus two consecutive findings you cited from Apandi Ali and parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that led you to believe Najib is innocent of all the accusations. So, let’s go into your arguments. Apandi first.

Essentially, the AG says (a) there is ‘no evidence’ to trace money going from 1MDB to Najib. Instead, (b) there is evidence to show that money went from a Saudi national to Najib. Therefore, no crime.

Before going further, a little history. But, re-read the Saudi letter above, dated 2011, alongside the two statements from International Petroleum Investment Co, below, five years later.

On Sept 2009, Najib signed a deal with the Saudis, creating the 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture (JV) with Malaysia putting in US$1 billion. Then from Mar 2011 onwards, barely 18 months after the JV, 1MDB began raising US$3.5 billion in two bond tranches through Goldman Sachs (there was a third in Mar 2012, raising US$3 bn). If Goldman were to raise that kind of money, it needs guarantees. So Najib goes not to his business partners, the Saudis, but their neighbors, the UAE, IPIC to underwrite both deals.

Some Saudi may give to Najib US$681 million for nothing, but not IPIC. It has shareholders and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to answer to. So, in its turn, IPIC asks Malaysia for collateral but at that early stage, year 2010, what has 1MDB got other than MYR1 million as paid-in capital? Nothing, not the JV, no Argentinian oil fields, no Turkmenistan. Nothing, except this: a lien on the power assets — later known as Edra Energy — with which US$3.5 bn was suppose to buy, starting with Tanjung Power. Most of the money never went to those power plants anyway but transferred instead to some island bank accounts. Now, worse for IPIC, Arul has sold all of Edra, alongside the Bandar Malaysia land (used partly as justification to raise the third, US$3 bn tranche of bonds). Those sales left the Emirate holding what for collateral? Nothing, but a worthless piece of promise on paper.

This train of affairs isn’t a matter of speculative conjecture but constitutes an easily traceable chain of events but are now unraveling. And this event series is documented, such as with bank transactions and, now, the Saudi letter and IPIC’s most recent two LSE statements (below). IPIC statements are most revealing, saying as if they had had enough not only of 1MDB but also — and get this right — the Ministry of Finance. Meaning, Najib. They must have reasoned, ‘why is it that Najib can, at the snap of finger, get up to a billion but can’t show us any money to honor 1MDB deals with us? Have we been exploited — no, cheated — to cover a scam?

IPIC statements exposed the terrible experiences they had in making deals with Malaysians: Above, 1MDB lied to us, IPIC says, and in their accounts. We didn’t get the money. Below, IPIC to MoF in a statement for the London Stock Exchange, all deals are off, we might sue.

1MDB Debt Settlement Arrangements

On 28 May 2015, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), Aabar Investments PJS (Aabar), Minister of Finance, Inc., Malaysia (MOF) and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) entered into a binding term sheet that provides for the following principal matters:

·    on 4 June 2015, IPIC provided US$1 billion to 1MDB for 1MDB to utilise immediately to settle certain of its liabilities (the Cash Payment);

·    from 4 June 2015, IPIC has assumed the obligations to pay (on an interim basis) all interest due under two IPIC guaranteed 1MDB financings amounting to US$3.5 billion in aggregate principal amount (the Notes);

·    upon the completion of the transfer of assets as described below, IPIC will directly assume liability for all payment obligations under the Notes (the Assumption of Debt) and forgive certain financial obligations of the 1MDB Group to the IPIC Group (the Debt Forgiveness); and

 ·    by 30 June 2016, IPIC is to have received a transfer of assets with an aggregate value of an amount which represents the sum of the Cash Payment, the Assumption of Debt and the Debt Forgiveness.

 1MDB and MOF have agreed to perform the obligations contemplated in the binding term sheet and to indemnify IPIC and Aabar for any non-performance, and vice versa.

 IPIC has met the Cash Payment and will meet the interim interest payments under the Notes from existing liquidity available to IPIC.

ENDS

The point is this: Apandi finds what he wants to find, sees what he wants to see. He won’t find evidences if he isn’t interested to look. Yet, if he did then recent developments made him looked like a fool, contradicting his exoneration of Najib and, paradoxically, showed that he lied in that judgment. The way out for Apandi, is simply to turn around and blame the MACC for failing to come up with those evidences. But this would be disingenuous.

Consider evidences from IPIC and from the PAC.

One, IPIC’s statements this April tell, in bottom line language: ‘we hold Najib ultimately responsible to give us back our money (US$1 billion) and we hold 1MDB complicit in lying to us, and in lying in their accounts about a payment that never arrived‘. After receiving the 1MDB money, Aabar BVI was wound up in June 2015. Yet this evidence means nothing to Apandi. You don’t think this strange, Lina?

Two, the US$1 bn owed to IPIC is just 14% of US$7.04 billion (MYR28 bn) the PAC has documented to be unaccounted for, a disappearance that started in Sept 2009 with US$1.03 billion and then continued until 2014. That is, for five years, evidences piled up to show not only a pattern in which money was siphoned out of 1MDB but they also pointed to fraud on an international scale. If a bunch of politicians closeted in a parliament room with little time, limited resources and limited access to documentary evidences can come close to such a conclusion how could the expert AG lawyers and Apandi himself see nothing?

Today, even Arul concedes that some of the monies have disappeared, adding that 1MDB might have been scammed. This is a startling admission which contradicts numerous, earlier statements of his own. In particular, are his repeated assertions (a) that everything in 1MDB have been accounted for, (b) that assets exceed liabilities, and (c) rationalization, meaning the sale of nearly everything 1MDB once owned, will put a clean slate to 1MDB. Now, it looks like 1MDB will never, never, never come out clean.

So Lina, tell us, who has been lying?

For Apandi to say there are no evidences that traced 1MDB’s money back to Najib is not the same as saying the money never went to him. This raises a question: If the money is not with Najib, where the fuck is it? How about the like of Jho Low, with a turkey for a prince, and the Emirates men? How about those dodgy companies created to look like the real. How about Blackstone BVI, mentioned in the letter by the Saudi ‘prince’?

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blackstone2013Click on image to read.

For you to appreciate the depth and the severity of the 1MDB scam, begin with names: Blackstone, Merryl Capital, Bridge. These aren’t just ordinary names, chosen for no good reason, then registered in some far-flung Caribbean  islands. But, in taking on those names, Jho Low, Tarek Obaid, et al, gained overnight reputation and credibility they hadn’t earned.

The original companies — the Blackstone Group LP, Merrill Lynch (since 2009 renamed as Ridgemont Equity Partners) and Bridge Equity Partners — are US-registered private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) firms. They act like banks without being subjected to banking laws because, instead of funding a corporate or an individual person they lend directly to projects with money they themselves had raised from banks, insurers and pension funds. Last year, Blackstone was managing assets worth US$311 billion, making it one of the world’s top three largest PE firms, and drawing 2014 revenues of US$7.5 billion.  This makes it wealthier than Petronas.

It was, therefore, not without reason that Jho Low and the ex-Aabar and PetroSaudi officials, Badawy al Husseiny, Khadem al Qubassi, Tarek Obaid should pick those names for their island companies. It is called, fraudulent misrepresentation; more commonly known as lying. Aabar BVI wasn’t the only, nor their first, dummy company. There were: Blackstone BVI (as opposed to Blackstone Group), Merryl Capital (v. Merrill Lynch), Bridge Partners International Investment (v. Bridge Equity).

Yet, Apandi sees nothing wrong in all that: a string of dummy companies, all set up at short notice by the same clique, all short-lived, all resident in some Caribbean island, all shell companies.

Take Blackstone Real Estate that’s mentioned in the letter from the ‘prince’. It was registered in the British Virgin Island (BVI) on Nov 2010, stating at the time that foreign exchange was its business. Seven months later, it changed its name to Blackstone Asia Real Estate and in 2013 wound up barely 2 years and a half into its existence — and note, the year after money was remitted to Najib. In short, a bogus company set up for laundering money.

You see, Lina, Apandi didn’t want to know all that. Not wanting to know, not wanting to find evidences, Apandi would deny all MACC request for foreign assistance to inquire into those companies as well as the people behind them and the money deposited in them. The creation of these dummy companies, made to look identical to reputable ones, are the clear, irrefutable evidences of fraud.

But why did Apandi, and others like you, deny their existence? Or, deny that something seriously is amiss, lying instead? This is not some boys peddling cigarettes behind a schoolyard. Bogus princes, bogus companies, bogus ventures, bogus assets, bogus oil fields, bogus accounts, and bogus lovers are a dime a dozen in the World of Fraud. Even money may not be real, Lina. Ask Arul or Jho Low.

Inside secret desert and island places, the like of Arul  mirror the sweet, Wharton business school talks of Jho Low, so hiding their fraudulent conduct. Fact is, US$7 billion is now formally acknowledged to have disappeared.

But Arul lied about that from the beginning, producing fancy charts and hiding their disappearance in financial jargon. (Bet you this, Lina: you had never heard of ‘Level 3 assets’ or financial ‘units’ before 1MDB.) Arul also says his work at 1MDB is done. What ‘work’ would that be? Cover up? In offering to resign over money vanished, he lies farther, suggesting that 1MDB is the victim when all the evidences point to it being the conduit and the vehicle in an international scam.

Arul’s statements, and those by the Saudi minister, by your statement and your peers, as well as by Apandi himself have collectively become the evidences that demonstrated a concerted, deliberate attempt calculated to hide a scam, and the money and its trail leading — irrefutably — to Najib Razak. In repeatedly lying, Lina, you become complicit to the crime even though you might have no part of it.

You see, when you enter a profession such as the government Cabinet there is in it the means to do good to society. But even a greater temptation to do harm. You may encourage genius, you may chastise the incompetent, expose falsehood, correct error, and guide the lives of this age in no small degree by the speeches you make and the actions you recommend. Yet you commit to everything the precise opposite….

What are you, Lina? Why do you make a big deal out of the tongue of a towel head? Because, you know, no one believes Apandi? That being so, why should the few words of an Arab, minister or no minister, make a difference?

The problems surrounding Najib don’t rest in matters of beliefs. It is in a simple fact: the reality of a theft, billions. That has been Najib’s secret for a long time, which a thousand more Arab tongues can’t change nor erase. Is far too many secrets also weighing you down, Lina? You have a secret life you live? A secret nest somewhere, like Najib’s secret Mongolian women and secret deals?

Scaffolds don’t support buildings. It only looks like that; in truth it’s the other way around. Therefore, understand this, Lina: you are but a piece of scaffold around an edifice called 1MDB after — and this part is critical — it had been wrecked and laid to waste. You stand holding on to nothing.

1MDB is today way past been a legal and a political issue that you, Najib, et al have been flogging to no end. It is an ethical issue, which explains why all the Apandis and all the towel heads in the world, won’t make go away. As an ethical problem — that is, a question of being right or wrong, being true or false — it must have an ethical resolution. Guess what’s that?

Yours truly,

rihaku

Above, is the sort of language of Seet Li Lin and the kind of Wharton business talk, the Wolf of Wall Street culture, you’d hear from Najib (recall him saying: ‘you help me, I help you’; ‘this is the deal…’) and Arul and Jho Low and Tim Leissner — all those financial scammers, gaming the system: “big on fluff, light on content, says a lot yet very little“.

You see, Lina, duplicity is characteristic hallmark of a scam. And guess who uses, who deploys, such language with so much frequency and regularity? Arul Kanda top the list. Next, Najib Razak. Recall him telling The Star: “Yes, the bank account is in my name. But, understand, although the account is my name, it is not personal.”

This sort of gobbledegook is the language of snake oil salesmen — and financial salesmen as well, people like Jho Low, and Tim Leissner, and Seet, and Goldman Sachs, and Tarek Obaid and their band of Arabian camel traders masquerading as sheikhs and princes.

Then there are ministers, people like you and that Saudi bloke.  Who’s been lying, Lina? You. You have been scammed, deceived, lied to, after which you repeat their lies. Can you feel your own lies moving the earth… (see Seet’s email below)?

The earth began moving on Sept 30 2009. But why? That was the opening bid in the Great Malaysia Scam — starting with US$700 million, now way past US$4 billion, all gone, and still rising. Two years later, Seet would be gloating: ‘he and others had gamed the system’.

This ‘gaming the system’ went on for five straight fucking years, billions upon billions, all right under Najib’s nose while you, Lina, holds up his flag with the gall to say he told the truth. But the truth is you, Lina, don’t want to know — to know that Najib Razak, human as he is, is capable of thievery on an unprecedented global scale in such a short time, unmatched by any head of government, democrat or dictator, dead or alive.

*

***

It began with MYR 2.6 bn; now it’s going through the roof. Why, Zaid, is that so hard to understand, even by the kampung?

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Altantuya All Over Again & the 1MDB Calculus

*

Variants of the above calculus, the Black-Scholes financial equation, are circulated in stock and financial trading halls. This is done by constructing ready-to-use formulae then bundling them into the hand-held calculators for Wall Street bankers and derivatives, options and bond traders like Nick Leeson.

Those equations are rarely in use today, victim of Black-Scholes fallibility and incipiency. Here is a list of its victims: Metallgesellschaft, Orange County, Sears Roebuck, Proctor & Gamble, all came to near collapse from heavy derivatives trading losses before and during 1994.

A year later there were Daiwa and Barings Bank and the latter’s employee Nick Leeson, the Briton in Singapore who relied on those equations to buy and sell bonds and Japanese index options, that is, ‘I-owe-you’ debt papers based on the high and lows (volatility is another word) of the country’s stock exchanges. Bank Negara’s losses in the 1990s’ sterling-USD-ringgit trades follows a similar pattern.

Barings was a century-old when it collapsed, done in single handedly by Leeson, whose losses wiped out the bank’s entire 1 billion Pound capital base. But this was not because Leeson, a high school dropout (like Petra Kamarudin), couldn’t fathom Black-Scholes. What is there to understand anyway? It was because high finance, like Las Vegas, has no morality, no God.

That amorality — no, immorality — underlies the same Wall Street culture taught in Wharton business school, driving the energies in the like of Tim Leissner and Low Taek Jho and Arul Kanda and their schoolmate hangers-on and underlings like Sharol and Tiffany, and like Casey Tang and Seet Li Lin.

Zaid Ibrahim made the observation that Malays, unable to understand the workings of Wall Street and high finance, turns readily to God, Zakir Nair being their conduit to Heaven. If only that is true: we, too, would queue up to get some of the Zakir holy sprinkles.

But Zaid was wrong on two counts. High finance being impenetrable to common people is a myth: just ask Leeson. And that, in its turn, leads to Zaid’s second error, which is that God is far more readily accessible than Black-Scholes, which for those still puzzled by it is actually a third-level differentiation of this; just two steps up:

A derivative (from the root word, differ) is simply the measure of a slope or its steepness:

202345.image2Give the above equation a formula, the result is this:

202345.image3Add many more variables other than x and y, insert a time-line into the chart, you will get the Black-Scholes’ formula. At its root it is algebraic, a third-level differential calculus. That is, it being derived from the difference in the steepness of slope and, of that, one more difference. In sum, a differential three times over. Another way of saying the same thing: the change over a change over a change. There is nothing incomprehensible about that.

If Zaid is indeed wrong, then his task, in speaking to the kampung, isn’t to teach Malays how Goldman Sachs created, then bought and sold bonds through a Black-Scholes formula. That would be completely unnecessary, and it would be fallacious as well.

Rather, it is to speak simply of the immorality in 1MDB and SRC, the godlessness of its people, Najib and Arul in particular. Worse than the godlessness, is today the trade of lives — Najib himself breaking even his own ‘you-help-me, I-help-you‘ credo. And this godlessness is in spite of his frequent Saudi visits, there trading the souls of Malay soldier-boys for princely Arab favors.

Now, with formal admission that up to US$7 billion might have been embezzled (vanished is the polite word), Najib’s sycophants, beginning with Azalina, are clearly attempting to completely severe the man from any association with 1MDB. After which — and you can see it coming — they will help Najib wash his hands clean of the affair by throwing out the rest of 1MDB people under the bus, beginning with Sharol Halmi.

Such a thing is the trade of lives; buying and selling people, first with cash and now it is with god and piety, or the pretense of it.

All this charade follows the same pattern in the Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder. It is Mongolia all over again. Recall Najib texting Razak Baginda: ‘be cool’, things are being sorted out. And, lo and behold, Razak, after some minor inconveniences, gets to live out the rest of his life in the UK; Sirul Azhar Umar gets to slip out to Australia from under his jailers’ noses, plus that of an entire police force and all Immigration. Nobody gets hanged.

In Malaysian morality, if you can get away with murder you can get away with US$7 billion — and still counting. That’s the godless morality message for the kampung, Zaid, not Black-Scholes, and not how bonds are created and traded. Those are just money in the form of an A4 letterhead. In a word, a derivative.

Now, Zaid, is all that so hard to understand?

As humans we can only take in so much. Malays in the kampung are so filled with gods there is really little room left in them for this world. Take out the god then you, Zaid, might just make some room for them to know Black-Scholes and its worldliness, both ugly and beautiful. This eagerness to tackle the world, if you hadn’t been told, occupies much of Chinese philosophical thinking….

To put the politics technically: We’ll have to get rid of God, then to take back our morality and return it to politics with the primacy it deserves over other basic forces, including Law, Money and King. Cash must be defeated as the King of Politics. Long live the Revolution!

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英子

*snapshot6

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忍受不了   忍不住

“You see, , I do not shudder to take the cold and fatal cup, from which I shall drink the frenzy of death. Your hand gave it to me, and I do not tremble. — Goethe  (The Sorrows of Young Werther)

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In Aranjuez, place of dreams and love
Where crystal fountains murmur
Gardens whisper to roses

In Aranjuez, leaves dry without colour
Swept by the wind
Are memories you and I once had
Forgotten now without reason

In Aranjuez, love hides in the sunset
In the breeze, in the flowers
Waiting your return

In Aranjuez, my love
You and I

***

When will I be home?

Among the cypress where I lay…

英子

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